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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 07:18 GMT
Man's suicide 'was not connected'
Liam Clarke
Liam Clarke was found hanging in a park in Bridgend
The father of a 20-year-old man who killed himself just after Christmas has said he does not believe his death was linked to other hangings in the area.

Liam Clarke hanged himself in Bridgend in December. The region's coroner said he was one of 13 young people to commit suicide there over the last year.

South Wales Police are investigating if any made contact on the internet, by e-mail or on a networking site.

Bridgend's MP said social networking sites could be "romanticising" suicide.

Fears over a link between the suicides were raised when Natasha Randall, 17, was found hanged at her home in Blaengarw, near Bridgend, and a girl believed to know her self-harmed a day later.

Before she died, Natasha left a message on her page on Bebo to Mr Clarke after his death, reading: "RIP Clarky boy!! gonna miss ya! always remember the gd times! love ya x."

Mr Clarke's father Kevin said: "I don't think they (the deaths) are linked and I don't think the Bebo website is linked to it either.

"It would be intriguing to find out what has got them doing it so close to each other.

"I know Natasha and Liam were very friendly - there is a photograph somewhere of them dancing together in a pub.

Coroner Philip Walters
I think the Welsh Assembly Government and all the appropriate authorities should be enlightened and look into it in some depth
Philip Walters, coroner

"It could be a coincidence. Being with Liam the afternoon before he decided to kill himself, he was just as normal as I have ever known him.

"We will never discover what caused it."

He went on to explain that his son was also in school with Thomas Davies from North Cornelly who hanged himself at the age of 20 in February 2007.

But he said the two were not close.

Thomas was friends with David Dilling, 19, and Dale Crole, 18, who had been found dead weeks earlier.

At first, a spate of seven deaths of young people were highlighted but on Wednesday, the coroner for Bridgend and the valleys Philip Walters said the number of suicides among young people under 26 over the previous 12 months in the area actually numbered 13.

He said that three of the boys were friends and had died some months after each other but that was the only link that had been found so far.

He called for a task force to be set up to look at the numbers of young suicides.

"It is very important that we get to grips with the situation," he said.

[Top, L-R) Dale Crole, Gareth Morgan, Liam Clarke, David Dilling; [Bottom, L-R) Thomas Davies, Zachary Barnes, Natasha Randall
Coroner Philip Waters said these seven were among 13 to have died

"What can be done I'm not exactly sure because we have great difficulty in finding the causes.

"I think the Welsh Assembly Government and all the appropriate authorities should be enlightened and look into it in some depth."

A focus group which includes South Wales Police, Bro Morgannwg Health Trust, local schools and Bridgend Council has been set up to help prevent suicides and attempted suicides.

Health Minister Edwina Hart also said the Care and Social Inspectorate Wales would be working with the local authority on the case of Natasha Randall.

South Wales Police said they had yet to find evidence linking Natasha's death to the others.

Supt Tim Jones, divisional commander of police in Bridgend, said: "I think it's quite clear that some individuals within this group did know one another, but what is equally clear is that we've found no theme that links them all together."



SEE ALSO
Teenage girls self-harm warning
25 Sep 07 |  Tayside and Central

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